The Met's Schiaparelli and Prada exhibit stirs up an old desire.
By Shoshana Greenberg (Lyricist/Bookwriter)
I'm not into fashion. I don't read fashion magazines or shop unless it's for a necessity. I'm familiar with the name Prada only through a certain book and movie title. I wasn't sure, then, what I would think of the Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibit at the Met, which closes this weekend. Would I despise it? Be bored? Find it interesting historically?
Walking through the galleries, seeing the Prada skirts and the Schiaparelli jackets, I felt something I did not at all expect, something I realized I had been supressing for a long time: the desire to go shopping and buy new clothes.
So what went wrong? After college, when I started fending for myself, new clothes became a luxury item and were not included in my small New York City-living budget. Over the years, I conditioned myself to avoid fashion magazines and clothing stores that might lure me into buying new clothes. Not only did I successfully wean myself off shopping but I even began to resent these stores and magazines and, generally, fashion.
Fashion is a unique art form in that, whether you like it or not, you must participate. If you don't like theater, you don't go to the theater. If you don't like fancy food, you just eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you don't like fashion, you still have to dress and go out in the world where you are subject to people's opinions on your clothing choices and "style." For those uninterested in their attire, this can be a burden.
I had classified myself as someone uninterested in fashion and appearance, yet when I saw those beautiful dresses, skirts, and jackets in the exhibit, I felt my old self bubbling up. I wanted to enjoy fashion again. I wanted to go to the mall or stroll Fifth Avenue.
One can't escape fashion, and maybe there is a reason for that. Maybe everyone needs to accept fashion into their lives as a neccesity, but with their own balance. Most of the time I don't want to shop or care about what I'm wearing, but occasionally I do want something new that makes me feel in style. I have to figure out how to account for that.
I still don't know much about fashion, but I like to think Schiaparelli and Prada would approve.